Objective: To test the effectiveness of stair-use banners in encouraging the use of stairs instead of escalators.
Design: Observational survey with prompted banners.
Participants: Shoppers and a few employees.
Methods: The use of the escalator and adjacent stair was monitored in a department store in Kochi City, Japan. Participants were coded for gender, age, and presence of hand bags. A 2 week baseline period was followed by a 4-week intervention using motivating messages on the stair-use banners. Follow-up data were also collected for 1 week after the removal of the banners 2 weeks later. The details of the study were published in the Kochi newspaper (booster) on the last day of intervention in the third week.
Results: A total of 9,834 escalator/stair-choice observations were made. The percentage of people who used the stair increased significantly from 46.0% to 51.1% during the intervention of 3-4 weeks (p < 0.001). When the banners were removed, the percentage remained higher than the baseline. The booster had no effect on the stair use.
Conclusion: This intervention method is effective in encouraging physical activity among the general public. As one method for encouraging exercise action for unspecified number of the general public, it was concluded that this intervention method was successful.